On 2 April, representatives of the knowledge institutions, government and the business world signed the ‘Nederlands Kennis- en Innovatiecontract’ [Dutch knowledge and innovation contract] for the nine ‘top sectors’. NWO chair Jos Engelen and VSNU chair Sijbolt Noorda signed the agreement on behalf of the universities.
The University of Groningen supports the top sector policy that forms the basis of the agreement and will contribute to it. There are ample opportunities for linking this theme to the University’s three research themes: Healthy Ageing, Energy and Sustainable Society.
The University’s participation has thus far made most progress in the top sectors of Agro & Food, Chemistry (Bio-based Economy), Energy and Life Sciences & Health. Detailed statements of intent have also been signed with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation for the other six top sectors. New partnerships will shortly be established with the business world and existing projects extended.
A good example of such an existing project is the Carbohydrate Competence Center (CCC), in which the University of Groningen plays an important role. High-quality academic research and industrial innovation go hand in hand in this knowledge centre, covering areas varying from healthy food to biorefinery. Scientific director Prof. Lubbert Dijkhuizen thinks that the Ministry of EL&I’s policy is just what the CCC needs: ‘The top sector policy offers great opportunities for some great science’.
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